Colombian authorities have released more than 10,000 inmates in the past four months to alleviate an overcrowded prison system.

picota2Congress approved reforms to the penal code in December, allowing inmates who have served 60% of their sentence, demonstrated good behavior and have stable family and social ties to be eligible for release.

Since the change went into effect on Jan. 20, about 2,000 prisoners have had their sentences suspended, while another 6,596 have been released on parole and 1,572 have been placed under house arrest, according to the Colombian daily El Tiempo.

The Colombian National Penitentiary Institute also is processing more than 15,000 applications from inmates seeking early release. The majority of inmates who have been freed were serving time for theft, drug possession and domestic violence.

Sources:, El Tiempo